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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Step(s) (11/29/12)

TITLE: Maddie's Steps
By Tim Pickl


“Christian! Christian! …he’s not hearing me.”

“Try clicking the lights on and off. He needs a visual queue, too, or else he won’t ‘hear’ you.”

I turned the basement lights off and on several times and tried yelling his name again. “Christian!”


“What are you doing down there?”

“I’m playing that new video game with my step-brother.”

“Okay. Well, there’s someone outside on the front steps who needs to talk to you.”

“Who is it?”

“Maddie. Apparently a girl you talked to at school a few times.”

“Tell her I’m busy.”

“Christian: I’m not going to do that. She’s sitting on the steps crying….waiting for you.”

“Oh, really?”

“Yes. She’s insisting you talk to her. She says you’re the only one who will understand.”

“Okay. Let me pause this game.” Christian asked his step-brother to hold on for a few minutes while he talked to Maddie. “Is she still here?”

I pointed out the front window to the front steps. “Yep–she’s right there.”


I was proud of Christian as he stepped out and knelt down on one knee on the step below Maddie. He took one of her hands and looked in her face.

“What’s wrong, Maddie? What going on?”

Maddie rubbed the tears out of both eyes with her palms. “I know you probably didn’t think so, but I really listened to what you told me the other day at school.”

“About taking the first step towards God?”

“Yes. You told me the first step is to acknowledge that I am a sinner in need of a Savior and to repent from my sin. But then the bell rang and we had to go to class.”

“That’s right.”

“So I’m here to ask you, what does ‘repent’ mean?”

Christian took a deep breath and answered, “Tell God you are sorry for all of your sins; and then tell Him—followed up by action—that you are turning from your sins toward Him.”

At that point, Maddie broke down and cried for a long time. When she could finally talk again, she answered. “I’ve done that, Christian. I’ve really turned…but… ”

“But, what? What’s going on?”

“I’ve done some things that I now regret. I’m pregnant.”

“Wow… I will help you any way I can. We will help you. My parents are wonderful people, too—they will help you.”

“Thank you. You have no idea how much that means to me… My boyfriend broke up with me, too. He doesn’t want anything to do with me now. He screamed at me, It’s your problem!


“Yeah, that’s what I texted to a couple of friends—it’s how I feel.”

“I can only imagine.”

“So, God forgives my past, but I still have to have this baby?”

“The law of sowing and reaping still affects our lives, yes. Some decisions we make will affect the rest of our life.

“So many things to think about. Such huge decisions. I know one thing, though.”

“What’s that?”

“I refuse to kill this baby. Abortion is out of the question.”

“Awesome. I’m so proud of you, Maddie.”

“My mom always taught me to consider adoption, if I got in trouble like this.”

Christian stood up and sat next to Maddie on the wooden steps. “Are you thinking about giving up your child for adoption?”

“Yes, I am. My mom can hardly afford me and my job won’t cover all the expenses of raising a kid.”

“Adoption is a huge step to take.”

“I trying to think of what would be best for my baby; but I really want him or her to go to a good home.”

At that point I stepped out on to the porch. “Christian?”

“Yes, mom?”

“I couldn’t help but overhear what you both were just talking about.”

“Am I surprised?”

“Oh, quit being sarcastic. This is serious.” It was my turn to kneel on one knee in front of Maddie. “Maddie, there’s no need to worry.”

“What do you mean?”

“Yeah, what do you mean, mom?”

“Maddie, there’s no need to worry. We’ll adopt your child. We have a great home, a wonderful family and church family. We’ve been talking about adopting again. This would be a first step in that direction.”

“Oh my…this is an answer to prayer… thank you… thank you so much.”

“Mom, I don’t know what to say.”

“Just say you will be there for your new brother or sister, just like you’ve been there for Maddie.”

“Oh, I will be here.”

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Member Comments
Member Date
C D Swanson 12/06/12
This was a lovely read. I especially enjoyed the ending which allowed hope to peek through the clouds. Nicely done. God bless~
Joanne Sher 12/08/12
I like the multiple kinds of steps in this story. The dialogue felt a little stilted, but it was a great story and lesson. Thanks so much for sharing it!
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 12/11/12
This is a powerful story and it is a great read for teens and parents alike (and realistically for some tweeners too). It's a topic that can be hard to tackle at times, for sure, but you handled it quite well.

I noticed a small typo I think instead of queue which means line you wanted cue (a signal to act) Some of the teen dialog felt a little unnatural to me. For example this line: "You told me the first step is to acknowledge that I am a sinner in need of a Savior and to repent from my sin." is a perfect line a minister or an adult might use. I imagine coming from a kid it might sound more like: Ya know how ya told me the first step is to admit that I messed up and will probably keep messing up unless I tell God of my mistakes and um, I think you said repent. What's that mean exactly?"
It doesn't have to be this dialect with the ya's but I wanted to show you a stark difference. It's a little thing but it could help more teens be able to relate to this story and turn their lives around.

I think you did a beautiful job of showing Christian's softer side. On first glance, he seemed like a normal teen who ignored Mom the first couple of times because he was engrossed with the video game. But as we read on, we notice this name goes deeper than just a word for people who go to Church. No, you showed what being a Christian is all about: caring, reaching out, protecting, giving strength. I think this was a bit of brilliance as an allegory or even a satire. So many people have a stereotypical idea of what a Christian is. In the beginning, you allowed the reader to buy into that stereotype for a bit and then WHAM! You show the reader the true meaning of Christian. I totally love this piece. I think if you could polish up the dialog some and work on it for as long as you need to perfect it (It's impossible to perfect a piece in a week so know everyone needs to tweak their challenges) that you could submit it to some teen magazines. It's an important talk for every parent to have with their child and I'd guess most need to do it long before they think it's necessary. I hope this reaches many people for I know it will touch hearts and possibly even save a life or two. :)